This is the CD Cover of the 1965 recording sessions of Chet's band, "The Chosen Few".
This is a historical collection of songs Chet wrote back in 1962-1965 and cover songs that the band played back then. It's a raw recording and Roots-Rock'n Roll songs. Enjoy!

This is the CD Cover of the 1965 recording sessions of Chet's band, "The Chosen Few". This is a historical collection of songs Chet wrote back in 1962-1965 and cover songs that the band played back then. It's a raw recording and Roots-Rock'n Roll songs. Enjoy!

To hear the songs on this album, please CLICK on the "Music" tab and look for CD, "Raw & Roll".

Or CLICK HERE.
THIS IS A DEDICATION AND MEMORIAL PAGE TO
THE MEMBERS OF “The Chosen Few” AND
THEIR SUPPORTERS.

 
Background Notes About The Chosen Few
 
The Chosen Few was an important rock ’n roll “basement band” based on the North
Shore of Chicago in the early 1960s. Basement band? Well, they practiced in
basements. All of the initial band members attended New Trier High School, a
school that has spawned many great creative artists, musicians, actors and
producers. The North Shore was a hot spot for developing rock’n roll bands and
artists in the area. The Chosen Few began playing together in the Fall of 1963. The
co-founders were Chet Nichols, who played lead guitar and sang lead vocals, and
Phil Hagenah, who initially played guitar. A friend of Phil’s, Tom Peck, was begging
to join the band, so Chet and Phil taught Tom to play bass and Phil graciously
moved to the drums. Mark Springer joined to play rhythm guitar. Like many bands,
there were changes in personnel until the final nucleus was solidified. Along the way
they added Wayne Welch on drums and vocals and Jeff Weinstein on rhythm guitar
and vocals. Phil Hagenah, went on to be a very successful film producer and
Mark Springer went on to be a singer in The New Christie Minstrels.
 
They were one of the “house bands” at the famous Winnetka rock ’n roll nightclub,
The Rolling Stone. What set the band apart from other bands was the fact that
they played originals penned by Chet Nichols and mixed them in with danceable
cover songs. Chet’s songs were influenced by The Beatles, The Kinks, The Beach
Boys and The Rolling Stones. He wrote songs that people still remember today;
“You Made Me Cry”, “Million Dollar Sandbox”,“Stay Away”, “Over and Over”,
 “Summer Love” and “If You See Kaye”, to name a few.
 
They played together until the summer of 1967, when college and the armed
Services finally split the band up for good.  Tom Peck headed to Boston and
lived there for several years until migrating to San Diego, where he lived as a
free-lance writer and cared for his mother until June 2005 when he passed
away. Jeff Weinstein moved to Colorado and played in bands in the Boulder area
until he passed away in the 1980’s from complications of diabetes. Wayne Welch
went into the Army and took his basic training near Oklahoma City where Chet
first attended college. Wayne lived in Bonanza,,Oregon and his band, "The
Usual Suspects" played in the Klamath Falls, Oregon area. Wayne has two sons,
T.J., a bank executive in Illinois and Bob, an artist.
 
Chet transferred to Kansas University and was “discovered” in a coffee house in Kansas
City. This led him into a long-running solo career as a performer, recording artist, singer,
songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor, writer, designer and composer that is
still going strong. Chet has produced 30 CDs of material that runs from Outside
Folk Rock to Americana to Alternative Country to New Age/World Fusion
Instrumental compositions. Chet has been married for almost 4 decades years to Nancy and
they have two sons, Chet III,  a site reliability engineer and Ben, a project manager in the technology industries.
 
Chet thought he had lost the tape that makes up the album, “Raw ‘n Roll”,
but found it in a box of old tapes stored in his garage in December of 2006, he turned to
respected San Francisco producer, Stephen Barncard, to salvage the tape and digitize it.
The tape was recorded on a 1⁄2 machine and is in mono. It was engineered
and recorded by Bill Bradley in his 3-story house in Wilmette one Saturday
afternoon. Bill went on to being one of the best engineers in the music
business, eventually working with Madonna and running her record company.
 
There is distortion and a raw feel to this tape because the pre-amps on the
mixing board were not built for loud drums and amplifiers and The Chosen
Few played loud AND fast. But the vocals are clear and out front. This CD is
un-cut and un-edited. It is an honor to be able to bring to you this little gem
of the history of an important band that was part of such a vibrant and
exciting time of emerging music in the 1960’s.
 
This CD is dedicated to the memory of Tom Peck, Jeff Weinstein, Wayne Welch and Bill Bradley.
 

Chet's Music From The 1960's

During the 1960's Chet started playing with his band, "The Chosen Few", on the North Shore of Chicago. Once the ban had to disband because of  a member being drafted and others going off to college, Chet began his life-long solo career.

His time spent with "The Chosen Few", was very important, as it helped Chet hone his songwriting skills and where he wrote a deep collection of classic rock songs that are still entertaining people AND winning awards. His song, "If You See Kaye", won the "Best Song Contest" at Broadjam.com.

Chet had several old friends who kept asking to hear the "old songs", so he went into the studio and laid down a dozen tracks using 21st century technology. BUT, he worked hard to make the songs keep the essence of their 1960's roots. Chet entitled this collection, "Band In The Basement". If you are one who likes classic 1960's rock and blues, you can hear that album at this site. CLICK HERE!

The Band In The Basement

Chet Nichols

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Singer-Songwriter: Classic Rock, Folk Americana, Blues and Roots Rock 'n Roll from the 1960's and re-produced with today's technology.

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  1. 1 If You See Kaye 04:51 Info
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    /
  2. 2 I'm The Ice Cream Man 03:59 Lyrics
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    /
  3. 3 I Come From Chicago 04:04 Lyrics
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A collection of some of Chet's classic, 1960's rock and roll and blues tunes, re-done using modern digital equipment, but they keep the essence of their 60's roots.
CLICK ON THE PICTURE above and it will take you to this album's dedicated webpage filled with lots of pictures and reviews.

A collection of some of Chet's classic, 1960's rock and roll and blues tunes, re-done using modern digital equipment, but they keep the essence of their 60's roots. CLICK ON THE PICTURE above and it will take you to this album's dedicated webpage filled with lots of pictures and reviews.

The Chosen Few "on stage" at The Rolling Stone in Winnetka, Il in 1964.

The Chosen Few "on stage" at The Rolling Stone in Winnetka, Il in 1964.

Wayne at his "work bench".

Wayne at his "work bench".

Practicing in the Peck's basement!

Practicing in the Peck's basement!

Forget "Ten Years After" with Alvin Lee, how about "Forty Three Years After with The Chosen Few"!

Chicagoland's Quintessential Mid-Sixties Rock Band

     Like discovering a diamond in the rough, Musician Extraodinare  Chet Nichols unearthed a long thought lost 1964 taping of his band The Chosen Few.   Thanks to Chet's perseverance,  he had it re-lobotimized, cleaned up and digitized, reproduced and packaged.  Considering the primitive conditions under which it was recorded on 1/2 inch tap, as well as it's forty three years of entombment in a long lost music graveyard, the sonic clarity and quality remained intact!  Chet must have employed a kitchen magician, the ghost of Houdini,  and a clone of George Martin, the producer of The Beatles, to bring this baby back to life.  Thank the Music Gods for miracles.
 
     What we have before us now folks, is the only known recording of one the hottest mid-sixities bands to grace the Chicagoland area and The North Shore.  This band had a following that always backed the venues where they played.  In spite of the young age of the members of the band (17-18), they displayed a sense of musical professionalism, far beyond their years.  Additionally, their vocal talents were top notch, and balanced in true harmony.  They played the various covers of that era, that ran from The Beach Boys to The Stones to The Beatles, and on and on.  With Tom Peck on bass, Jeff Weinstein on rhythm guitar, Chet Nichols on lead guitar and lead vocals, and Wayne Welch on drums, they were a together group with a very tight sound. The biggest surprise of the group was Chet Nichols's song writing ability, which led him to a long and highly successful career as a highly acclaimed performing artist, proficient song writer and well noted author.  Chet's self-penned songs on this CD are well written, highly evolved and perfectly vocalized and were a highly positive harbinger of things to come for him in his music career. Having seen this band blast out their many great songs on many occasions in those music filled years,  I now have a piece of music history that I had longed for many a year.  Anyone from that era needs this CD for their music collector.  In addition, anyone who has ever lived or went to High School in the Chicago area, the North Shore, Wilmette, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Evanston and Highland Park, etc, is required to have this album.  It's  too bad that we don't have any more of the music that The Chosen Few played. However, this sonic taste of that time is like a whole musical feast!           

Chet
, many thanks for giving us a piece of the past that we had longed for such a long time.                                 
A True Mid-West Musical Masterpiece!.
 
 
Special article about the band featured in The Chicago Reader. Written and designed by the infamous Steve Krakow of Plastic Crimewave!

Special article about the band featured in The Chicago Reader. Written and designed by the infamous Steve Krakow of Plastic Crimewave!

The Band, "The Chosen Few"

All musicians, especially rock musicians and sing-songwriter types started in a "band".

Chet is no different, although he did start his musical career playing classical cello and piano.
But, Chet bought his first guitar in Tijuana, Mexico at age 12 and that was the catalyst that took him down
the path to songwriting......

His first and, really, only band he ever played with for any length was called, "The Chosen Few" and they
gave Chet the opportunity to spread his wings as a songwriter.

They called themselves, "The Chosen Few".

Chet has asked that we dedicate a page on this site to his bandmates who helped him grow as a songwriter and musician.
"The Chosen Few" - Interview

Chet Nichols has been performing music for over forty years and first found major success with his teen band The Chosen Few.  Performing in and around Winnetka, Illinois, the band separated themselves from the rock and roll pack by performing a mixture of the popular songs of the day and originals written by Nichols’ himself.  Some of these originals have been compiled on a CD that Nichols has released and that is available at his Web site. Nichols will be inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in March, an achievement that recognizes not only his accomplishments as a solo singer/songwriter, but his stint as a member of The Chosen Few as well.

The Chosen Few at The Rolling Stone

An Interview With Chet Nichols
 
60sgaragebands.com 60s): How did you first get interested in music?
Chet Nichols (CN): My dad and mom met in the church choir at St. Mary’s in Evanston, Illinois.  Dad was an opera singer and known as “The Singing Dog Warden.” Our house was filled with music, records and people who’d gather around the family piano to sing. So, I guess, “music was in the air” at the Nichols’ house. All my brothers and my sister were into music. I began singing by the time I was three. I began playing piano when I was six and I began studying cello when I was seven. I eventually began competing in piano and cello competitions. When I was twelve, I was picked to be the concertmaster in the Chicago Archdiocese Orchestra as the first cellist, an honor usually bestowed on the first violinist.
 
60s: Was The Chosen Few your first band?
CN: No, I had a couple other bands. The first was a rock-a-billy, Elvis-type band. It didn’t last too long - five to six months. Then I had another band, The Fruits Of The Loom, which stayed together throughout high school and we usually played some high-school events. This was more of a “get-together band.” I also played in a folk-duo called, The Baymen for a few years with my friend, Kyle Arhberg, usually playing high school events at New Trier High School. I played in a folk-trio, too.
 
60s: Where was when was The Chosen Few formed?
CN: The band started in my sophomore year at New Trier in 1963. The band was the brain-trust of Phil Hagenah, who played bass, and I. We had a few other guys who were dying to get into the band. It was tough to turn some guys away but the rule was they had to be able to sing, too.
 
The initial line-up was: Chet Nichols – vocals, harmonica, and lead guitar; Phil Hagenah, – vocals and bass; Eric Schroeder – vocals and drums; and Mark Springer – vocals and guitar.  Mark didn’t last too long because he hated to practice and he was replaced by Jeff Weinstein on vocals and guitar. Eric was a jazz drummer and didn’t have time for the band and we replaced him, with Phil Hagenah moving to drums and we added Tom Peck on bass. Initially Tom didn’t know bass at all, but he could really sing and he and I sounded great together. Phil taught him to play. Dang if he didn’t learn the song list in two weeks. It was amazing. This eventually led to a big problem though.
 
Phil was a good drummer, but Tom Peck  found a new guy, Wayne Welch, who was a cross between Keith Moon and Dennis Wilson. He was a great singer, too. So, we pondered how to tell Phil he was going to be replaced. I guess there are a LOT of stories like this when bands form. Bands ARE a very organic entity. We drew straws and I drew the short straw and had to tell Phil. I know it hurt him, but he was cool about it and we are friends to this day. So the final and long-running line-up was: 
Chet Nichols – lead singer and lead guitar
Tom Peck – vocals and bass
Jeff Weinstein – vocals and rhythm guitar
Wayne Welch – vocals and drums.

 
60s: How would you describe the band's sound? What bands influenced you?
CN: We played songs by The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Kinks, Elvis, Them and The Yardbirds—most of the popular bands of the day. What really set us apart from the other bands were the songs I wrote, “You Made Me Cry,” “Over and Over,” “Million Dollar Sandbox,” “If You See Kaye” and  “Summer Love”...to mention a few. Eventually, our shows consisted of half the songs I wrote and half popular cover songs of the day. I actually had other area bands that approached me about playing my songs during their sets.
 
60s: What was the Winnetka rock and roll scene like in the '60's?
CN: It was very vibrant and very competitive. The competitive part bugged me. The old line of “Who was the best instrumentalist or vocalist” made me laugh. To me, it was all about the band sounding good and writing good songs. For us, it was all about “having soul.” Still, as a “scene,” we all respected each other and would go and catch each other’s shows. It was cool to see the diversity of sounds coming from all the bands in the area.
 
60s: What other local groups of the era do you especially recall?
CN: The Dell-Vetts, The Flock, The Dharma Bums, The Shadows Of Knight, The Buckinghams, and Mark Hannon’s band; it’s a rather long list.  There was a lot of great music and great bands. Again, I loved hearing what other people were doing and appreciated what people were creating.
 
60s: How far was The Chosen Fews’ "touring" territory?
CN: We went into Chicago, the western and northwestern suburbs and, of course, the North Shore.
 
60s: Where did The Chosen Few typically play?
CN: We played everywhere. We played a lot of private high school and college parties. We played a lot of frat parties at Northwestern, debutante parties, Beautillions…you name it. We played at many events at New Trier, too. Also, we played all the clubs throughout Chicago. Our home club was The Rolling Stone in Winnetka.  We played many battle of the bands and usually won them on the strength of my original songs. I don’t remember us ever losing one.
 
Tom Peck kind of acted as our manager, too. His mom helped out. Bob, the guy who ran the Rolling Stone, booked us a little bit and really wanted to be our fulltime manager. My mom balked at this. She knew the music biz and was a bit scared that I would go off and be a musician and not go to college. So, the band was sort of doomed. Wayne eventually went off to the Army and Tom, Jeff and I went off to college. We did play some dates during the summer when we were in college. But my solo career started to take off during my sophomore year at Kansas University, so I concentrated on it because I was playing great “listening clubs,” halls and colleges all across the country.
 
60s: How popular locally did The Chosen Few become?
CN: We were in high demand and played almost every Friday and Saturday. We made good money, too. I rarely ever had to ask my mom for money. When we played the clubs the places were packed, which was cool. It was great to play to a big crowd that was digging the music.
 
60s: Were any of the Chosen Few songs released on the CD that you offer released as 45s?
CN: No. Unfortunately, the tape that spawned the CD is the only one in existence. We did do another tape recorded in 1965, but it has been misplaced. I really want to find it because it has a bunch of our later originals and some really great covers.
 
60s: Where were the songs recorded?
CN: The first tape we recorded was recorded at Bill Bradley’s three-story house in Wilmette one Saturday afternoon. Bill had us spread out throughout the house to help separate the sound. His mom unexpectedly came back home in the middle of the session and almost flipped out.  But, she let us finish. Bill went on to be the top engineer at the famed Universal Studios in Chicago. Eventually, he moved to Los Angeles were he recorded many artists and eventually ran Madonna’s record company, Maverick Records, before he passed away a few years ago.
 
60s: You were the band's primary songwriter. Where did you typically find your inspiration?
CN: As mentioned earlier, half our show was originals. I was the only writer in the group. I found my inspiration at that time about the life around me. Since we were all interested in girls, girls and girls…a lot of inspiration came from that.
 
60s: Did the band make any local TV appearances? Does any home movie film footage exist of the band?
CN: Naw, we never did TV.  I think there is some movie footage that was taken, but where it is is still a mystery.
 
60s: What year did the band break up?
CN: Our final shows were in the summer 1967,with college and the armed services taking us in different directions. Tom Peck went to Boston, Jeff went to Colorado, Wayne went into the army and was stationed in Oklahoma. I went to Oklahoma City University to study theater arts for a year. Wayne and I re-united a couple times while we were there.
 
60s: Which bands did you join after The Chosen Few?
CN: I went on and had a successful solo career for many years. I still play solo. I had a jam band in Lawrence, Kansas for a few years where we played long psychedelic sets at Be-Ins. But the band never went anywhere and I continued to play solo, which is where I had the success, writing outside-alternative-folk-rock songs.
 
60s: How often, and where, do you perform today?
CN: I still write and perform these days as a solo performer. I also write instrumental songs for use in films and TV. I have recently release two new instrumental CDs, Red Mesa Sunset and Earthways. I have a new release coming out in 2008 entitled, Peak To Peak. One of the songs on that CD, “Beijing Dawn,” was recently awarded a Special Mention in the Music Aid International Song Competition. I also have a new singer-songwriter CD which is scheduled to come out in 2008. To pay the bills, I act in films, on TV and work as an Interactive Producer producing Web sites.
 
60s: You were recently voted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.  That had to be a tremendous honor.
CN: Actually, I am very honored and excited about this. The induction ceremony is on March 23, 2008. Being voted into The Kansas City/Kansas Musician Hall Of Fame really acknowledges my twelve-year touring career that followed my time spent in The Chosen Few. I recorded two records, “Time Loop” and “Waving Prairie,” for Kama Sutra Records. In the past 25 years, I have produced numerous singer-songwriter CDs. I met a lot of great people in Kansas City and in Kansas who are still good friends. Kansas City had a very vibrant music scene in the late ‘60s, ‘70s and beyond. I am still very active in music and love writing, performing and playing.
 
60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The Chosen Few?
CN: It was one of the best times of my life. We had a band where everyone contributed to its success. We didn’t experience the friction I saw that took place in other groups. I learned a lot about writing songs and playing covers in The Chosen Few. I miss those guys. Wayne Welch and I are the only surviving members. Tom Peck and Jeff Weinstein have passed away. The CD, Raw ‘N Roll, that I just released contains the only surviving music from the band. I dedicated this CD to the memory of Tom Peck, Jeff Weinstein and Bill Bradley.
 
If people are interested in hearing my music they can visit:
http://www.chetnichols.net
 
General information about my careers is available at http://www.chetnichols.net.
 
There is also a Web page at the site above with all the history of "The Chosen Few":
Jeff Weinstein, Tom Peck, Wayne Welch and Chet Nichols

 

 
Tom Peck on bass & vocals.

Tom Peck on bass & vocals.

Jeff Weinstein on guitar & vocals.

Jeff Weinstein on guitar & vocals.

Wayne Welch, great drummer, singer and all-around funny guy.

Wayne Welch, great drummer, singer and all-around funny guy.

Thanks, Chet, for agreeing to an email interview. I appreciate your time with this!

I personally realize it's not easy recalling details from 40 years ago and it's even less fun typing out your recollections.  We would, of course, greatly enjoy learning more about you and The Chosen Few.  I try my best in my interviews to get a pretty detailed history of a band, so I hope you don't mind the long list of questions. The way I look at, there are literally thousands of bands from the '60's that don't ever get to have their stories told, and I try my best to change that.  So...here goes:
 
Q: How did you first get interested in music?
My Dad and Mom met in the church choir at St. Mary’s in Evanston.
Dad was an opera singer and known as the “Singing Dog Warden” in Evanston. Our house was filled with music, records and people who’d gather around the family piano to sing. So, I guess “music was in the air” at the Nichols house. All my brothers and my sister were into music. I began singing by the time I was 3. Began playing piano when I was 6 and I began studying cello when I was 7. I eventually began competing in piano and cello competitions. When I was 12, I was picked to
be the concertmaster in the Chicago Archdiocese Orchestra as the first cellist, an honor usually bestowed on the first violinist.

Q: Was The Chosen Few your first band? If not, which band was? How long was it together?
No, I had a couple other bands. The first was a rock-a-billy, Elvis-type band. It didn’t last too long 5 to 6 months. Then I had another band, “The Fruits Of The Loom”….which stayed together throughout high school and we usually played some high-school events. This was more of a “get-together band”. I also played in a folk-duo called, “The Baymen” for a few years….usually playing high school events at new Trier HS. I played in a folk-trio, too.
 
Q: Where was The Chosen Few formed, what year, and by whom?
The band started in my sophmore year at New Trier….1963. The band
was the brain-trust of me and Phil Hagenah, who played bass. We had a few other guys who were dying to get into the band. Tough to turn some guys away. The rule was, they HAD to be able to sing, too.
 
Q: If you haven't already done so, please list the names of each member of The Chosen Few, as well as the instruments each played.
The initial line-up was:
Chet Nichols – Vocals, Harmonica, Lead Guitar
Phil Hagenah – Vocals, Bass
Eric Schroeder – Vocals, Drums
Mark Springer – Vocals, Guitar

Mark didn’t last too long because he hated to practice and he was replaced by Jeff Weinstein on vocals and guitar. Eric was a jazz drummer and didn’t have time for the band and we replaced him with Phil Hagenah moving to drums and we added Tom Peck on bass. Initially Tom didn’t know bass at all, but he could really sing and he and I sounded great together. Phil taught him to play. Dang if he didn’t learn the song list in two weeks. It was amazing. This eventually led to a big problem though. Phil was a good drummer, but not great. We found new guy, Wayne Welch, who was a cross between Keith Moon and Dennis Wilson. He was a great singer, too. So, we pondered how to tell Phil he was going to be replaced. We drew straws and I drew the short straw and had to tell Phil. I know it hurt him, but he was cool about it and we are friends to this day. So the final and long-running line-up was:
Chet Nichols – Lead Singer, Lead Guitar
Tom Peck – Vocals, Bass
Jeff Weinstein – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Wayne Welch – Vocals, Drums

 
Q: How would you describe the band's sound? What bands influenced you?
We played songs by The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Kinks, Elvis, Them, The Yardbirds…..most of the popular bands of the day. What really set us apart from the other bands were the songs I wrote, “You Made Me Cry”, “Over and Over”, “Million Dollar Sandbox”, “If  You See Kaye”, “Summer Love”….to mention a few. Eventually, our shows consisted of half the songs I wrote and half popular cover songs of the day. I actually had other area bands who approached me about playing my songs during their sets.
 
Q: What was the Winnetka rock and roll scene like in the '60's?
It was very vibrant and very competitive. The competitive part bugged me. The old line of “Who was the best instrumentalist or vocalist” made me laugh. To me, it was all about the band sounding good and writing good songs. For us, it was all about “having soul”. Still, as a “scene”, we all respected each other and would go and catch each other’s shows. It was cool to see the diversity of sounds coming from all the bands in the area.

Q: Where did the band typically play (schools, parties, etc.)?

Q: Did you play any of the local teen clubs? If so, which ones?
We played everywhere. Tom Peck acted as our booking agent. His mom helped a lot with that. We played a lot of private high school and college parties. We played a lot of frat parties at Northwestern, debutante parties, Beautillions…..you name it. We played at many event at New Trier, too. Also, we play all the clubs throughout Chicago. Our “home club” was The Rolling Stone in Winnetka.

Q: How far was the band's "touring" territory?

Q: Did The Chosen Few participate in any battle of the bands? If so, what other bands do you recall playing against? How well did the band typically fare?
We went into Chicago, the western and northwestern suburbs and, of course, the North Shore. We played many “Battle Of The Bands” and usually won them on the strength of my original songs. I don’t remember us ever losing one.

Q: What other local groups of the era do you especially recall?
The Dell-vettes, The Flock, The Darhma Bums, The Shadows Of Night, The Buckinghams, Mark Hannon’s band…a rather long list…lots of great music and great bands. Again, I loved hearing what other people were doing and appreciated what people were creating.

Q: Did The Chosen Few have a manager? If so, how did you hook up with him? How active was he in promoting the band?


Tom Peck kind of acted as our manager, too. As I mentioned, his mom helped out. Bob, the guy who ran the Rolling Stone, booked us a little bit and really wanted to be our fulltime manager. My mom balked at this. She knew the music bizz and was a bit scared that I would go off and be a musician and not go to college. So, the band was sorta doomed. Wayne eventually went off to the Army and Tom, Jeff and I went off to college. We did play some dates some dates during the summer when we were in college. But my solo career started to take off during my sophmore year at Kansas University, so I concentrated on it because I was playing great “listening clubs”, halls and colleges all across the country.

 Q: How popular locally did The Chosen Few become?
We were in high demand and played almost every Friday and Saturday. We made good money, too. I rarely ever had to ask my Mom for money. When we played the clubs the places were packed, which was cool. It was great to play to a big crowd that was digging the music.

Q: Were any of the Chosen Few songs released on the CD I ordered released as 45s?  If not...why not?


No. Unfortunately, the tape that spawned the CD is the only one in existence. We did do another tape, but it has been mis-placed. I REALLY want to find it because it has a bunch of our later originals and some really great covers.

Q: Where did The Chosen Few record the songs? What do you remember about the recording session(s)? 


The first tape we recorded was recorded at Bill Bradley’s three-story house in Wilmette one Saturday afternoon. Bill had us spread out throughout the house to help separate the sound. His mom unexpectedly came back home in the middle of the session and almost flipped out.  But, she let us finish. Bill went on to be the top engineer at the famed Universal Studios in Chicago. Eventually, he moved to LA were he recorded many artists and eventually ran Madonna’s record company, Maverick Records, before he passed away a few years ago.

Q: Did The Chosen Few write many original songs?  Were you the band's primary songwriter?  Where did you typically find your inspiration?


As mentioned above, half our show was originals. I was the only writer in the group. I found my inspiration at that time about the life around me. Since we all interested in girls, girls and girls….a lot of inspiration came from that.

Q: Do any (other) '60's Chosen Few recordings exist? Are there any vintage live recordings, or unreleased tracks?


There is another tape that I am trying to locate that was recorded in 1965.

Q: Did the band make any local TV appearances? Does any home movie film footage exist of the band?


Naw, we never did TV and I think there is some movie footage that was taken, but where it is is still a mystery.

Q: What year and why did the band break up?


Our final shows were in the summer 1967. College and the Armed Services taking us in different directions. Tom Peck went to Boston, Jeff went to Colorado, Wayne went into the army and was stationed in Oklahoma. I went to Oklahoma City University to study theater arts for a year. Wayne and I re-united a couple times while we were there.

Q: Which bands did you join after The Chosen Few?


I went on and had a successful solo career for many years. I still play solo. I had a jam band in Lawrence, KS for a few years……where we played long psychedelic sets at “Be-Ins”. But the band never went anywhere and I continued to play solo, which is where I had the success, writing outside-alternative-folk-rock songs and performing solo..

Q: Please tell me about your career today. How often, and where, do you perform?
I still write and perform these days as a solo performer. I also write instrumental songs for use in films and TV. I have recently release two new instrumental CDs, “Red Mesa Sunset” and “Earthways”. I have a new release coming out in 2008 entitled, “Peak To Peak”. One of the songs on that CD, “Beijing Dawn”, was recently awarded a Special Mention in the Music Aid International Song Competition. I also have a new singer-songwriter CD which is scheduled to come out in  2008. To pay the bills, I act in films, on TV and work as an Interactive Producer producing websites.

Q: You were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.  That had to be a tremendous honor.  Thoughts?

 Actually, I am very honored and excited about this. The induction ceremony is on March 23, 2008. Being voted into The KC/Kansas Musician Hall Of Fame really acknowledges my 12 year touring career that followed my time spent in The Chosen Few. I recorded two records, “Time Loop” and “Waving Prairie”, for Kama Sutra Records. In the past 25 years, I have produced numerous singer-songwriter CDS. I met a lot of great people in KC and in Kansas who are still good friends. Kansas City had a very vibrant music scene in the late 60’s, 70’s and beyond. I am still very active in music and love writing, performing and playing.
 

Q: How do you best summarize your experiences with The Chosen Few?


It was one of the best times of my life. We had a band where everyone contributed to its success. We didn’t experience the friction I saw that took place in other groups. I learned a lot about writing songs and playing covers in The Chosen Few. I miss those guys. Wayne Welch and I are the only surviving members. Tom Peck and Jeff Weinstein have passed away. The CD, “Raw ‘N Roll”, that I just released contains the only surviving music from the band. I dedicated this CD to the memory of Tom Peck, Jeff Weinstein and Bill Bradley.
 
If people are interested in hearing my music they can go to:
 
http://www.chetnichols.net
 
General information about my careers is available at:
 
http://www.chetnichols.net
 
There is also a webpage at the site above with all the history of "The Chosen Few".
 
I hope you enjoy reminiscing about your band, Chet. I really look forward to your responses. If possible, please email some photos of the band to include with the interview (or can I use some from your website?). Also, depending on your answers, I might have additional questions that I'd like to email you. I try to flesh out the interviews as much as is possible.

Regards,

Mike
 
Yeah, this has been fun. I will send pictures with this.
 
My Best,
 
Chet Nichols

Contact Us:   MagicGarageMusic@gmail.com
 
Tom Peck, great swimmer, bass player and singer.

Tom Peck, great swimmer, bass player and singer.

Chet Nichols in 1966.

Chet Nichols in 1966.

Jeff Weinstein, guitarist, vocalist and gentle soul.

Jeff Weinstein, guitarist, vocalist and gentle soul.

The Chosen Few - Press Release…..
 
Back in the early 1960’s the North Shore was a real “teenage wasteland”, that is until the teen night club, “The Rolling Stone”, opened on Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka.
Chet Nichols's band, "The Chosen Few" was easily one of the most popular bands because they were the only band performing original; songs penned by Chet.

Housed in a converted Nash automotive shop, “The Rolling Stone”, quickly became the hub for teen rock’n roll bands from the North Shore who wanted to share their versions of  rock’n roll songs popular in the 1960’s. "The Chosen Few" was one of those bands. "The Chosen Few" was started by Wilmette’s, Chet Nichols and Winnetka’s, Phil Hagenah and Winnetka's, Tom Peck and quickly became one of Chicago’s favorite bands.

Again, what set "The Chosen Few" apart from other bands was the fact that half the material performed by the band were original songs written by Chet Nichols. Chet recently discovered the one-and-only studio tape of "The Chosen Few". The tape was engineered by Bill Bradley from Wilmette, who went on to produce and eventually run Madonna’s record company, Maverick Records.

Chet called on his old San Francisco friend and producer, Stephen Barncard, to help salvage and digitize this gem. Stephen Barncard has produced and engineered for David Crosby, The Grateful Dead, CSNY and others. Chet has announced that The Chosen Few’s tape is now available as a CD released by Magic Garage Records.
The CD is entitled, “Raw ‘n Roll”. This is a real, classic gem from one of the North Shore’s pioneering rock’n roll bands of the 1960’s. The CD is available at…http://www.chetnichols.net.

Last summer, "The Chosen Few", was featured at a 1960's themed exhibit and presented by the Willmette Historical Society alsong side other North Shore bands and bands like The Beatles..

For more information, contact us at MagicGarageMusic@gmail.com
Chet performing at a "Fall High School Mixer" at New Trier, HS in Winnetka, Il.

Chet performing at a "Fall High School Mixer" at New Trier, HS in Winnetka, Il.

Chet's beloved Gretsch Guitar. Sweet!

Chet's beloved Gretsch Guitar. Sweet!

Chet's FIRST Vox Super Beatle!

Chet's FIRST Vox Super Beatle!

The Chosen Few    
Press Release…..
 
Back in the 1960’s the North Shore was a real “teenage wasteland”, that is until the teen night club, “The Rolling Stone”, opened on  Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka. Housed in a converted Nash automotive shop, “The Rolling Stone” quickly became the hub for teen rock’n roll bands from the North Shore who wanted to share their versions of  rock’n roll songs popular in the 1960’s. The Chosen Few was one of those bands.

The Chosen Few was started by Northbrook’s, Chet Nichols and Winnetka’s, Phil Hagenah and Tom Peck and quickly became one of Chicago’s favorite bands. What set The Chosen Few apart from other bands was the fact that half the material performed by the band were original songs written by Chet Nichols. Chet recently discovered the one-and-only studio tape of The Chosen Few.

The tape was engineered by Bill Bradley from Wilmette, who went on to produce and eventually run Madonna’s record company, Maverick Records. Chet called on his old San Francisco friend and producer, Stephen Barncard, to help salvage and digitize this gem. Stephen Barncard has produced and engineered for David Crosby, The Grateful Dead, Brewer & Shipley and others.

Chet has announced that The Chosen Few’s tape is now available as a CD released by Magic Garage Records. The CD is entitled, “Raw ‘n Roll”. This is a real, classic gem from one of the North Shore’s pioneering rock’n roll bands of the 1960’s.

The only issue with the old tape was the amount of distortion caused by the nature of this LOUD rock 'n roll 1960's band,  so, Chet took it upon himself to re-record many of the songs that the band played that Chet had written. The end result is the amazing, classic rock album, "Band In The Basement", which is available at Chet's website......


The CD is available at… http://www.chetnichols.net/cd-the-band-in-the-basement
 
Chet and his first guitar bought in Tijuana, Mexico 1960.

Chet and his first guitar bought in Tijuana, Mexico 1960.

The band's beloved "cowbell".

The band's beloved "cowbell".

Chet's turntable was always spinning!

Chet's turntable was always spinning!

Chet's portable harpsichord!

Chet's portable harpsichord!

Chet playing is cello in 1960.

Chet playing is cello in 1960.

Chet's house growing up.

Chet's house growing up.

The band's "Playlist".

The band's "Playlist".

Playlist.....Page 2.

Playlist.....Page 2.

Chet's second band, "The Fruits Of The Loom"!

Chet's second band, "The Fruits Of The Loom"!

Chet at his FIRST big show as one of the "opening artists" for The Modern Folk Quartet.

Chet at his FIRST big show as one of the "opening artists" for The Modern Folk Quartet.

This is the "original" RIckenbacher Lap Slide created for the Vaudevillian act, "The Walker Brothers". Chet use to use this all the time to play lap-slide in the 1960's. It was one bad-ass instrument that ROARED!

This is the "original" RIckenbacher Lap Slide created for the Vaudevillian act, "The Walker Brothers". Chet use to use this all the time to play lap-slide in the 1960's. It was one bad-ass instrument that ROARED!

The Chosen Few winning another "Battle Of The Bands" in Northfield, Illinois.

The Chosen Few winning another "Battle Of The Bands" in Northfield, Illinois.

Performance & Session Bio

Chet has an international following and has toured extensively and
performed at coffee houses, listening clubs, large concert venues,
major concert tours and college concert tours across the USA and Canada,
as a featured performing artist and as an "opening act" for artists and bands
including......


B.B. King
Jethro Tull
John Denver
The Jefferson Airplane
Linda Ronstadt
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Jimmy Messina
Timothy B. Schmidt
Rusty Young
Papa John Creach
George Carlin
Steve Martin
POCO
Hot Tuna
Dan Hicks & The Hotlicks
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
It's A Beautiful Day
Pacific Gas & Electric
Jimmie Spheeris
Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
Mary Travers
The Charlie Daniels Band
Country Joe McDonald
The Grassroots
Mason Proffit
The Persuasions
Blue Oyster Cult
The Grateful Dead
Big Brother & The Holding Company
Leonard Nimoy
James Taylor
Bollo Sette
Southern Comfort
John Lee Hooker
The Chad Mitchell Trio
Roger McGuinn
Ian & Sylvia
Humble Pie
Modern Folk Quartet
Richard Pryor
KC Grits
Ewing Street Times
Danny Cox
Biff Rose
The Guess Who
Steve Goodman
The Mary Clayton Band
Billy Spears
Brewer & Shipley
Ted Anderson
The Kansas City Philharmonic ... and many more.

Chet has worked in recording studios and recorded with .....

Bill Bradley (Madonna)
Stephen Barncard (David Crosby)
Nicky Hopkins (The Rolling Stones)
Nick Gravenities (Big Brother)
Laura Allan (Laura Allan)
Dave Garabaldi (Tower of Power)
Zakir Hussain (Ravi Shankar)
John Kahn (Jerry Garcia)
Spencer Dryden (The Jefferson Airplane)
Pete Sears (The Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna)
Henry Lewie (Joni Mitchell)
Fuzzy John Oxendine (Sons of Champlain)
Buddy Cage (New Riders Of The Purple Sage)
The New Riders Of The Purple Sage
Jack Schroer (Van Morrison)
Brewer & Shipley ("Live" album)
Don Preston (Wings)
Richard Marx (Dick Marx & Associates)
Sal Marquez (The "New" Tonight Show Band)
RJ Fox (Sherry Fox)
Steve Sperry (The Steve Miller Band) ..... and many others.

Please feel free to hang-out and listen to any of Chet's album and to contact Chet.
Or you can add your info to his mailing list or send any comments or questions his way.


PLEASE NOTE: This is a current and evolving site, as well as being a fun and
informative "historical" site about an influential, independent, American composer,
musician and singer-songwriter, Chet Nichols.

So, we are always looking for and seeking any and all old posters or photos
from Chet's shows.

If you have any, please let us know. We would be happy to provide you with
a nice collection of Chet's music of your choice in exchange for any reviews,
photos or posters you can provide.


Contact Us: MagicGarageMusic@gmail.com

Website Designed and Produced by Chet Nichols for
Magic Garage Productions, Magic Garage Music (ASCAP) 
and Magic Garage Records.   All Rights Reserved.